Supervisor Dr Brian Oliver
What is special about COPD?
When most people have a rhinovirus infection they experience symptoms of the common cold. However, when people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have a rhinovirus infection they often have a life threatening exacerbation. The reason why this occurs is not known.
This project will establish if the innate (anti-viral) immune response to rhinovirus is: 1) intrinsically different in lung cells from people with COPD, and 2) impaired by current therapeutic regimens.
TECHNIQUES: Cell culture, virus assays, qPCR, Western blotting, ELISA
Do epigenetic changes occur in COPD?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major global cause of ill-health and mortality which is increasing in prevalence worldwide and constitutes a huge socioeconomic burden. Whilst the aetiology of COPD is multifactorial, the main risk factor in western societies is cigarette smoking. However why some smokers develop COPD and others do not is not known.
This project will investigate if epigenetic changes are involved in the development of COPD, and how cells from people with COPD respond to therapeutics in-vitro.
TECHNIQUES: Cell Culture, ELISA, Molecular Biology
Does rhinovirus reduce the efficacy of asthma medications?
During virus-induced asthma exacerbations bronchodilators such as β2-agonists become ineffective. In our previous studies we have found that the infected bronchial epithelium drives this phenomenon, for example it promotes desensitisation of the β2-adrenoceptor on airway smooth muscle cells.
In our recent studies, in collaboration with A/Profs Traini and Young we have begun to investigate how the transport of bronchodilators across the epithelial is affected by rhinovirus infection. In this study you would assess how the transport of β2-agonists across epithelial cell layers is affected by rhinovirus infection.